Despite the fact that few people outside the realm of science understood what Hawking really did for a living, he became a beloved figure in the entertainment world. His wheelchair and robotic-sounding computer voice made him instantly recognizable, whether in cartoon form or being portrayed by handsome actor Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Hawking in 2014’s “The Theory of Everything.”
Here’s a look at some of the times when the scientist hit the big (and little) screen.
‘The Simpsons’: Forever a fan
Stephen Hawking voiced himself on The Simpsons nearly a dozen times. After once making a bold scientific statement, Homer backed him up, saying “Larry Flynt is right!” Apparently, both Hawking and Flynt have gone on the record saying they found this incredibly funny. pic.twitter.com/Eus69emZfM
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) March 14, 2018
Hawking was such a fan of “The Simpsons” he allowed the animated Fox show to feature him during four separate appearances, and called it “the best thing on American television.”
He also knew it brought him and his big brain to a new audience, saying, “Almost as many people know me from ‘The Simpsons’ as through my science.”
Hawking admitted he didn’t have all the gadgets the show built into his cartoon version’s wheelchair, but noted that “I hope I wouldn’t use the boxing glove” — which he used to punch Principal Skinner — “although sometimes I’m sorely tempted.”
‘The Theory of Everything’: Hello, Oscar
Eddie Redmayne (now of “Fantastic Beasts” fame) portrayed Hawking in 2014’s “The Theory of Everything,” which won Redmayne an acting Oscar. The film was adapted from “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” a memoir by Hawking’s first wife, Jane. It was one of the few times Hawking’s romantic life and years as a young man were portrayed.
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It was also where many heard Hawking’s inspiring quote: “There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
Sharing with all of you my favorite scene from The Theory of Everything ✨ Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking. I’ll be looking for you whenever I look up at the stars pic.twitter.com/THeA89TGqs
— rebeca lazo (@_pennyl4ne) March 14, 2018
Inventing gravity on ‘Futurama’
It made sense for Hawking to show up on a show about the future, so “Futurama” welcomed the scientist. He was animated as himself several times on the show, which like “The Simpsons” was created by Matt Groening. But even in “Futurama,” not everyone knew what he did, and he had to put up with being asked if he was “the inventor of gravity.” Yeah, sure, why not?
It might be a bit silly of me to love Stephen Hawking for his Simpsons/Futurama cameos more than his science, but he was clearly a very funny man, and I enjoyed them immensely
— Brendan Johnson (@the_red_heifer) March 14, 2018
And as “Futurama” fans know, life as a disembodied head is just part of the deal.
‘Star Trek’: To boldly go
Hawking would seem a natural “Star Trek” fan, with all his nerdy knowledge. And he appeared on the season 6 finale of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” in some pretty prestigious company. Hawking, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were all seen as holograms playing poker with